MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the evacuation of certain neighborhoods in the city Sunday as Hurricane Sandy threatened to hit the city with dangerous wind, rain and storm surge.
Coastal neighborhoods around the city will see water surges of 6 to 11 feet, the mayor said, with the worst peaking Monday evening.
"This evacuation is mandatory — it is for your own safety," Bloomberg said. "We've got to take some precautions today," he said, even with the worst of the storm predicted for Monday night.
Schools will be closed Monday, and many public schools will be converted into shelters, he said.
Already workers had begun evacuating patients at New York Downtown Hospital, because the facility did not have the proper infrastructure to stay open during the storm, Bloomberg said. Other hospitals in low-lying areas, such as New York University’s Langone Medical Center, were not being evacuated if they had backup generators and other emergency infrastructure.
“To move people is dangerous in its own right, so if you don’t have to do it, you don’t do it,” the mayor said.
On Sunday, the city will be helping and inform and evacuate residents the 375,000 residents who live in the highest risk areas of three zones determined to be prone to flooding, he said.
The area most at risk, called Zone A in the city's hurricane evacuation plan, includes Battery Park City, parts of the Financial District and Chinatown, some of the East Village and Lower East Side, but also extends up to Hell's Kitchen and Murray Hill along Manhattan's riverfronts. In Brooklyn, parts of Greenpoint and Red Hook are largely in Zone A, as well as the Navy Yard, Coney Island and Manhattan Beach.
In Queens, parts of the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Long Island City, and Hamilton Beach fall within Zone A, and in the Bronx, parts of Throgs Neck and the South Bronx will be evacuated. Much of Staten Island's coastal areas are Zone A, including Midland Beach, New Dorp Beach, Great Kills, Stapleton, Port Ivory and Port Richmond — and large portions of Hylan Boulevard, Victory Boulevard, and NY 440 fall within the designation as well.
City workers were in the midst of evacuating NYCHA buildings, which include 26 complexes in Zone A areas. Nearly 46,000 residents would be affected by the elevators being shut off, as well as the heat and hot water shutdown, Bloomberg said, and urged all residents to relocate.
The sites and 311 were experiencing slowness and difficulty getting through on Sunday as New Yorkers flocked to check whether they would be affected. The Mayor's Press Office instructed New Yorkers to check evacuation zones through a PDF of the City's Hurricane Evacaution map online.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged residents of Zone A to seek shelter with friends and relatives who live on higher ground within in the city.
“I’m sure your friends and family outside of Zone A would love to have you over for dinner tonight,” Bloomberg said. “Hopefully Tuesday morning we can say ‘Here is what I did when we had the surge.’ We can all have a good story.”
The city also has 76 shelters all over the five boroughs, with a complete list here. From there, evacuees will either be assigned to that shelter or taken to another shelter.
By 4 p.m., the Park Slope Armory YMCA had two evacuees, both senior citizens from Far Rockaway. More evacuees were expected to arrive starting at 9 p.m. on school buses from the Rockaways, shelter workers said. The space took in more than 700 during Hurricane Irene, and could hold more if needed, a security guard said.
Storm surges were expected to peak during the high tide on Monday night and continue through Tuesday.
For additional information about evacuation procedures, the city's full hurricane evacuation plan can be found on www.nyc.gov.